After watching a local KQED program last night I felt I had to blog about the subject matter the program covered. Alex White Plume began planting a crop on his reservation land (you know, the land the federal government "gave" to the natives
as a gesture of good will after exterminating the tribes and their people) as a way of sustaining the general welfare of his people/family. The problem was this crop, Hemp, is classified by the DEA as a schedule 1 drug (along with Heroin, LSD, psilocybin, Mesculine, peyote, et al.).
Now, don't get me wrong. This posting is not about legalizing a "drug". What needs to be understood is the difference between Hemp and Marijuana. For you know, it is possible to grow a Hemp plant that has little to no psychoactive properties and yet has thousands of industrial uses. What Alex White Plume was trying to accomplish was to grow a crop (but was prevented from doing countless times with DEA raids on his "sovereign land" to destroy planted fields) which had an enormous number of uses to benefit his tribe, not one of which had to do with intoxicating his people.
You see, the good stuff we know as marijuana affects us because it has a property known as THC. The difference is, marijuana has upwards of 20%-30% THC while hemp has 0.5%-1.5% THC. So, that is why the hemp plant is illegal. The DEA has ruled (on October 09, 2001) that even trace amounts of THC is unacceptable. At any rate, I didn't want to get too long winded in this post.
So, what Alex White Plume wanted to do with this crop of hemp is much like what Europe, Asia, Australia, and Canada already do with it; ALOT of things!
And, I thought I might add, being that it is Independence Day; Did you know Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on paper made from hemp?!?!
We're talking about a plant so versatile there are upwards of 25,000 different products you can derive from it. Hell, Mercedes-Benz uses a "biocomposite" composed principally of hemp fiber for the manufacture of interior panels in some of its automobiles. If this plant were declassified as a schedule 1 drug and allowed to be planted by farmers across this country I have little doubt it could be traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as a cash crop.
In short, let Alex White Plume (and farmers across this country) plant hemp!!